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Wrap up of Building Businesses Conversation with the QBCC

Michael Chesterman
Michael Chesterman October 4, 2019

On 26 September 2019, the Queensland Building and Construction Commissioner, Brett Bassett, and several senior QBCC staff participated in a Q&A style event hosted by Helix Legal.

I am extremely pleased to report that the event was an outstanding success. Attendees relished the opportunity to have a conversation with the QBCC regarding significant industry reforms that have progressively been coming into effect over the past 18 months.

For over an hour the Commissioner, along with Kate Raymond (QBCC Chief Legal Officer), Cheriden Farthing (QBCC Adjudication Registrar) and Natasha Dennis-Weller (QBCC Team Leader, Licensing Financial Unit) answered questions from industry participants concerning key aspects of the implementation of key reforms in a very frank and informative manner.

Leading up to the event I published several articles on some of the key reforms, namely:

All these key reforms were the subject of questions from attendees as well as other issues relating to the operations of the QBCC.

Over the course of the next week or so, I will publish a series of articles addressing all the issues that were the subject of discussion at this event.

I worked for the QBCC and its predecessor the BSA for 22 years prior to commencing with Helix Legal. My CV outlines the range of jobs and responsibilities I undertook during these years at the QBCC and BSA.

While I recognise the very significant and vital role the QBCC plays as the industry regulator, since joining Helix Legal I have in several previous articles raised some concerns about the legislation the QBCC has been asked to apply and enforce by the government.

However, if I believed praise or support for an initiative or action undertaken by the government or QBCC was appropriate, I have also never been afraid to say as much.

I will continue expressing views on all industry issues without fear or favour.

I believe that via my articles, I have always voiced my views and opinions in a respectful and informed manner. I will strive to maintain high standards in this regard, and I would encourage all industry parties and stakeholders to do likewise.

Why is this so important?

Because I truly believe that most of the problems and challenges facing the construction industry now and in the future, can only be resolved by the various stakeholders assuming responsibility for righting the ship and it should not be left to the QBCC or various governments to do the heavy lifting in this regard. But for that to happen, the various parties and stakeholders must be prepared to talk to each other and genuinely work together to come up with solutions in a respectful environment.

In other words, I believe that most of the necessary industry reforms and changes must be driven from bottom up, not top down.

Final thoughts

In an opinion piece from the author and journalist Julia Baird entitled ‘Shouting down your opponents just cements the silos’, several comments really struck a chord with me, namely:

“The art of persuasion has been thoroughly trounced by polemic in public debate. Online, in comments sections, in staccato bursts of hate and attack, in the citing of feelings over facts, we see people shoving pillows over divergent views and trying to stop them being aired at all. When was the last time you were stopped in your tracks by a piece of logic that shifted your thinking on something important?”

In closing she said this:

“Silos are about gathering armies, about attack, and the casualties are civility and persuasion. It’s taking more and more muscle to carve out public spaces for argument, not antagonism, and for talking, not trolling.

If you have only conviction without persuasion, you won’t convince anyone”.

The QBCC staff that attended our event are to be applauded for fronting up and answering the hard questions. The attendees who asked questions, some which were very pointed, all did so in a respectful manner.

We at Helix Legal couldn’t be happier with the way proceedings unfolded on the night. In true Aussie style, everybody mingling, having drinks and refreshments on the conclusion of formal proceedings was a great way to bring the curtain down on the launch of our Building Businesses Series.  If you are interested in attending our events head to to register.

Not intended as legal advice. Read full disclaimer.
Michael Chesterman
Michael Chesterman October 4, 2019

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